The Bizarre Story Of Jack Parsons, The Sex Cult Leader Behind NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Once upon a time, the idea of humans exploring space was relegated strictly to the realm of science fiction. That changed, however, in the mid-20th century when a group of pioneering young scientists began developing rockets and technology that would eventually put man on the Moon. Among these early trailblazers was Jack Parsons.

Today, though, Jack Parsons’ name is rarely mentioned in history books. This is strange, given his contributions to space travel — but there is perhaps a reason for it. In addition to being a brilliant rocket scientist, Jack Parsons was involved in occultist practices, particularly Thelemic rituals, a series of esoteric beliefs put forth by Aleister Crowley in the early 1900s.

Parsons was also friends with the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard — who eventually ran off with his girlfriend and stole his life savings. What’s more, Parsons was ultimately accused of espionage, leading him to be cast out from the scientific community.

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